Agency Spotlight: Los Angeles LGBT Center
Food Forward serves over 1,800 hunger relief agencies through donations of our recovered fruits and vegetables, and with that many organizations it can be hard to keep track of the work each one is doing in our communities. We’d like to tell you more about one of those organizations, which some of our staff recently had the pleasure of visiting. It’s the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year!
The newest addition to the LA LGBT Center’s many facilities in Los Angeles, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, will provide more units of affordable housing for seniors, more beds and supportive housing units for youth, and a commercial kitchen to feed homeless youth and seniors.
About the LGBT Center
The Los Angeles LGBT Center currently operates seven different facilities and seeks to help LGBT individuals thrive in all areas of life. The Center offers health services, social services and housing, culture and education programs, and leadership and advocacy trainings. Every month, the organization receives an average of 42,000 visits, and their services are free or low cost and open to all.
More LGBT people receive services from the LA LGBT center than from any other organization in the world, including life-saving services. The Center provides housing, social services, and mentoring programs for youth, with a focus on youth experiencing homelessness. 40% of youth living on the streets in LA identify as LGBTQ, and the Center provides them with three meals a day, clothing, counseling, education, as well as emergency and Transitional Living Program beds.
The LGBT Center also provides an extensive array of services to LGBT seniors, who often struggle with living expenses, as they are less likely than heterosexual seniors to have children, grandchildren, or partners to support them. Their Triangle Square facility is LA’s only affordable housing development for LGBT seniors, and offers 104 affordable housing units. The Center also provides food and case management services, as well as programs and activities that help connect seniors and reduce the isolation many experience.
Residents at the LGBT Center’s affordable housing development for seniors, Triangle Square, unpack Swiss chard from Food Forward boxes.
Another key focus of the center is providing health care that is specific to the LGBT community. Some of their services include: HIV and AIDS testing and prevention, HIV and AIDS care, a Transgender Health Program, mental health counseling, violence prevention and survivor support, and addiction recovery services. Over 28,700 people visited their health center in 2018.
The Center also produces theater performances and hosts exhibitions that celebrate LGBT people and culture, operates a charter high school, and provides scholarships to students. They advocate both locally and nationally for policies and funding that support LGBTQ people, and support other LGBTQ organizations and activists.
Food Forward and the LGBT Center
Since 2012, the Los Angeles LGBT Center has been receiving Food Forward recovered produce. Their senior housing facility at Triangle Square receives fresh fruits and vegetables from the Hollywood Farmers Market every week, and the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus receives rescued produce from the Larchmont Farmers Market twice a month. All of this high-quality produce directly reaches about 60 individuals each month through the LGBT Center’s free farmers markets and hundreds more through its vibrant culinary program. Nick Panepinto, Director of Culinary Training and Operations, estimates that culinary program participants prepare 450 meals a day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner for campus residents, and lunch for seniors at their Triangle Square site.
Food Forward staff and volunteers with Kristin Flickinger, Director of Programs, and Nick Panepinto, Director of Culinary Training and Operations, in a fridge with Food Forward produce!
Food Forward staff recently had the joy of volunteering at the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, where we helped with food prep in the kitchen and gave out free produce to seniors for their bi-monthly free farmers market. We also got a tour of the new facility, which opened earlier this year and doubles the number of beds that The Center provides for homeless youth. Once completed, it will also have 99 units of affordable housing for LGBT seniors. Director of Senior Services, Kiera Pollock, says, “We are so pleased to partner with Food Forward to provide fresh, local, healthy, produce in our meals and our farmers market program for our homeless and low-income seniors and youth. Without the help of Food Forward, we would not be able to provide quality and healthy food for our community.”
We hope you enjoyed reading more about the Los Angeles LGBT center and the amazing work they are doing to serve the LGBTQ community here in LA. Here at Food Forward, we are grateful that we can play a role in providing fresh, healthy foods to the thousands of people served by this Los Angeles institution.